P2P Everything

It’s got to be done doesn’t it.


There’s a war going on – currently being conducted domestically by corruption of the law-making process, and internationally waves by secret IP treaties. Each one of these is an attack. In the early 20th C, it would have been foreign battleships on the horizon. In the early 21st, it’s “delegates”… “negotiators”… meeting behind closed doors, stitching up the planet for a global aristocracy. It’s information enclosure.

At the moment, there seems to be an arms race between The Law (which has nose-diving legitimacy) and Technology. It’s a class-war, and it’s the same class war that has been waged for generations. For thousands of years. Spartacus fought it his way, we’re fighting it ours. We’ve got a head-start… provided by previous generations etc. Yesterday’s Union guys. The Suffragettes… back and back.

So with that as a backdrop… the reason the Internet is what it is (as opposed to an interactive cable-channel) is because it was created by hippies… open computers on an open network. The pipes are agnostic of their content – which is a two-edged sword, but the evils of open-systems (an aid to various types of crime, including the sick end of porn) is far far


less evil than what happens when “those on top” are allowed to have too much power.

So… apropos of that… here’s a bunch of stuff.

1) we need to P2Pify everything – I think that this is going to require an open-source “black box” with an API. Something that can handle the cryptography/mechanics allowing designers and less heavy-duty programmers (like me) to build whatever the hell they want on top.

I came across this: tent.io – which looks like it might be a step in that direction, but they have “tm” and © symbols everywhere… and talk about “owning” information… and any protocol which has the idea of “information ownership” built into its DNA, should be rejected outright. Like the W3C trying to build DRM into HTML5

Then again, they say Tent is generic and decentralized. That means anyone can build any kind of app and host their own Tent server if they want. There are no limits or central authorities to censor or intermediate communication, invade privacy, or take control.…. so they’re thinking along the right lines.

I might need to have a play with that… see how it goes.

2) we need to de-mainfraimify the cloud – this kickstarter project has promise

But they’ve adopted a rental (aka: unearned income) model for their hardware, so although they aced their kickstarter campaign, I don’t think this one has wheels.

3) BitTorrent Sync

This is pretty cool – I’m now using it instead of dropbox to share files between my (linux) laptop and (windows xp) laser-cutter laptop. I think this could be an open way of solving the same problem as above. It’s really simple, and it’s really fast.

So… new project: I’m going to get:

– a raspberry PI $35 (plus another $100 cables, wifi dongle, wireless keyboard etc)
– a 500gb hard drive (could be a lot higher, but I don’t need a lot higher)

… and that’s all I think. Connect it up to the TV, which needs to be released from the shite that is broadcast TV anyway.

Then I think I’ll start writing little apps for it. Possibly with…

3) Unhosted – which is a set of tools for writing applications that run on your local browser, pointing to databases that can live anywhere. There are a bunch of example apps… some of which are pretty impressive… given how young the tech is.

I played with this a while back… got as far as “hello world”… seemed to work well enough.

Anyhoo – a little set-top device like this could kill a whole bunch of birds with one stone… the two main ones being P2Ping the cloud, the other being eclipsing the idiocracy of broadcast TV.

4) BrCKs

Which looks quite good… what would be quite cool would be the storage thing I was on about, sitting on tip one of these… turned into a mesh network. Something with the potential to bypass ISPs altogether… not that I’ve got anything against ISPs… it’s just that they do seem to be turning into a target for the forces of old and evil.

I have a feeling that this might be another one of those “got to happen” things, that we’re going to be pushed into by the arms-race we’re currently in. Mesh Networks could well become The New P2P.

Which brings us back to Raspberry Pi…


Who’d have ever thought that this could turn out to be a giant-killer. I have a funny feeling it might be though… or something like it. The 3D printed gun guy with his “Liberator” is still trying to fight WWII… although if he’s a proper libertarian, then he’s probably got his head back in 1776 – they’re so desperate to borrow legitimacy from the (subtly rewritten) past, that they’ve started aping the language… but I think the real liberator here… the real disruptive, democratising tech, will not be a little gun, it will be a little computer. An ugly duckling.

And no one will see it coming.